June 12, 1982
By David Huff
A Mighty Oak in a Dense Musical Forest
Some groups have found their pot of gold. Others are still looking. And then there are a few like the Texas based rockers, Point Blank, that are getting very, very near.
"We have paid every due there is to pay and a few that weren't even ours," replied lead guitarist Rusty Bums. "Twenty percent of this business is luck. The other 80 percent is knowledge, how to work within the business, how to not get crazy, not have your band break up on you, being able to tour and handle all of the pressures involved.
"There is a lot more to being a rock star per se because this star business is just maintaining your sanity. A lot of people may consider you a star, but if you want to consider yourself one, just walk out of this business sane. Then people will say you did something and I will say that you did something.”
Point Blank has been the guitarist’s little baby he’s been nursing since 1974. Since then, the band has been heavily pounding the concert trail, touring ten months out of the year.
"We put this thing together," explained Burns, "for the exact purpose of what it is doing. We didn't form a band to play bars. We put it together to play on the road, make some bucks, gain a bit of notoriety and have the freedom to play the type of music we want to play. So far, so good.
"We all put in our thousand percent apiece to try to make this band what it is, and that’s Point Blank. We don't sound like anybody else. It's our own brand of music. We are very proud that we have been able to cultivate our own sound. With what we have already done, the band has built a pretty decent future off Point Blank. We are going to happen. We're the band that won't go away. People learn to live with you after a while. Then they learn to dig you after you become an institution."
There certainly is no fear in Burns’ eyes as he waxes philosophically about the future, Point Blank’s future that is. He knows what he wants, and has recruited like-minded individuals that are in it for the long haul, just as he is.
"I’m a student of this business,’ proclaimed Burns, “as much as I’m a teacher. We have seen plenty of overnight successes in this business that have a hit today, but are gone tomorrow. You never hear from these high profile bands again because they didn’t have the music to back up their isolated hit.
“We know how they got there. The hook, the thing that gets the little kiddies off. That’s what one-hit wonders peddle. Writing and recording good music is a science. It involves a strong drum beat, strong bass track and sometimes a great guitar solo. The only problem with the hit is there are no other tracks on the record to compliment the real high energy the song puts out. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself one question. Do you want to sell out because of money? That's the thing you have to ask yourself.”
The one sure fire way to avoid the pitfalls of the here today, gone tomorrow syndrome is to play live, and play often. As Point Blank can attest, these road warriors have honed their chops touring the country on a consistent basis. They also recorded the elusive hit single, “Nicole”, that appeared on their last record, American Exce$$.
"The road definitely puts a lot of callous on you,” admitted the guitarist. It makes you live with a lot of things you wouldn't normally live with. You have to ponder within yourself to know if what you are doing is right, or If it is wrong. When you feel it in your gut; then do what you want to do. I have known that this band was going to make it since day one, since we first jammed together on stage. We all knew it. We all turned and looked at one another that day and told ourselves it was there, the magic.
"Performing 90 minute or two hour sets every night is a tremendous outlet of energy that pours out of your soul. The music you play cleanses you. The time you spend on the stage makes all of this bullshit you have to put up with tolerable. And I’m talking about the rotten meals, hotel rooms, beds, asshole desk clerks, jerks at the airport and all of those god heads trying to sell you a flower or some terminal.
"I am here of my own accord because this is what I have always wanted to do. I’m in the music business on my terms, not someone else’s. Whatever standards other artists use to determine success varies from who it is you are talking to. I know where Point Blank stands in this forest we’re in. There’s a mighty oak growing out there, and it has our name on it.”